Friday, January 16, 2009

The Founders' Great Mistake (The Atlantic)

For the past eight years, George W. Bush has treated the White House much as Kenneth Grahame’s Mr. Toad treated a new automobile—like a shiny toy to be wrecked by racing the motor, spinning smoke from the tires, and smashing through farmyards until the wheels come off. Bush got to the Oval Office despite having lost the popular vote, and he governed with a fine disdain for democratic and legal norms—stonewalling congressional oversight; detaining foreigners and U.S. citizens on his “inherent authority”; using the Justice Department as a political cudgel; ordering officials to ignore statutes and treaties that he found inconvenient; and persisting in actions, such as the Iraq War, that had come to be deeply unpopular in Congress and on Main Street.

Understandably, most Americans today are primarily concerned with whether Barack Obama can clean up Bush’s mess. But as Bush leaves the White House, it’s worth asking why he was able to behave so badly for so long without being stopped by the Constitution’s famous “checks and balances.” Some of the problems with the Bush administration, in fact, have their source not in Bush’s leadership style but in the constitutional design of the presidency. Unless these problems are fixed, it will only be a matter of time before another hot-rodder gets hold of the keys and damages the country further.

The historian Jack N. Rakove has written, “The creation of the presidency was [the Framers’] most creative act.” That may be true, but it wasn’t their best work. The Framers were designing something the modern world had never seen—a republican chief executive who would owe his power to the people rather than to heredity or brute force. The wonder is not that they got so much wrong, but that they got anything right at all.

The rest of the article is an interesting read going into how various folks have interpreted and wielded executive power.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Strange Interlude

My favorite craigslist ad ever!

This link was corrupted... if I can find the original content again I will re-instate the link.

Here is the craigslist post I tried (unsuccessfully) to link to earlier. I hope it is readable coz it is laugh out loud funny.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Scientologists On The Attack Against Gays

In a shocking new tactic attempting to ban peaceful protesters from picketing the Scientology compound known as "Gold Base" near Hemet, CA, Scientology lawyers have obtained medical information regarding two protesters, and are using their HIV positive status in an attempt to prevent them from picketing at the location.

Worldwide pickets against Scientology have surged in the last year, and Scientology has been fighting to stop them, especially near the Hemet compound. Scientology has used tactics ranging from physical attacks , false reports to police, and the emission of an estimated 110db organ note from loudspeakers in an attempt to drown out the protesters' chants.

The latest tactics, however, are downright sickening, illegal, and an insult to members of the LGBT community and HIV patients worldwide.

Attorney Graham Berry and activists "Angry Gay Pope" (AGP) and "Happy Smurf" (a former Scientologist) are openly homosexual. Scientology, which policy states that homosexuals are "low on the tone scale" and should be "disposed of quietly and without sorrow", has obtained AGP and Happy Smurf's private records and discovered that they are HIV positive.

Scientology is lobbying for the passage of a county-wide ordinance restricting protesting at "Gold Base". Scientology considers the presence of the two HIV+ men to be a threat to the well-being of the alleged 500 "church workers" at the Base, and is seeking to restrict protests in a move that may constitute an restriction on 1st Amendment rights of activists in Hemet.

This is not the first time Scientology has openly spoken out against homosexuality. At the 2008 Toronto Gay Pride Parade, Scientologists made false claims of being able to cure homosexuality.

Recently the Church of Scientology of California donated a generous sum of money to aid in the passing of Proposition 8, a law that banned marriage between homosexual couples.

Laugh Out Loud Funny

Just a quick post today to share with you all a blog that I've been enjoying lately.

It is called Overheard in New York, and it contains laugh out loud funny snippets of conversations overheardon the streets of New York City.

Give it a read when you get some time and let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did... you're all the Grinch!